Report on The Page Turners Meeting - Meeting, Thursday, 4 January 2018

The Page Turners reviewed The Lives of Stella Bain (Anita Shreve 2013) at their meeting on the 4th January. This book was one of our highest scoring reads yet! There was general agreement that the story was engaging and kept everyone reading.
Anita Shreve’s books have been described as “combining all of the escapist elements of a good beach read with the kind of thoughtful complexity not generally associated with romantic fiction.” (http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guides/fiction/9495-stella-bain-shreve?start=1)
There is a focus on the lives of women in Shreve’s books and she has been labelled as a women’s writer, but each reader must be the judge of that.
There was no great complexity to this book. One member commented that it was not what she expecting, since the title suggested multiple lives. Though, the main character had certainly experienced many different aspects to the life she had.
The story is set in France, England and America spanning years both sides of The First World War. This in itself makes for a less than usual setting, though some felt there was a degree of fancifulness to the extent that Stella Bain moved across Europe and America. She was driven by a need to “right a wrong” but certain events associated with the time period got in the way and opened up Stella Bain’s life to a traumatic experience. It was felt by some of our group that these issues were not tackled in any real depth, but if the emphasis is on a romantic read, then these details become merely a vehicle for a love story.
The phrase “a page turner” was used more than once during our discussion about this book, with some balance being made by one reader who said that the story had not stayed with her.
However, this book did collect one of the highest scores given by our readers so far – a rather pedantic 7.92
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